Jaymie Tabor spent the first semester of her freshman year at the University of New Hampshire, but it wasn’t a good match.
“I liked the school,” Tabor said. “But lacrosse-wise, it wasn’t the right fit for me. It was just so far away from home too. I wasn’t happy with lacrosse, so it made me unhappy with a lot of other things. It wasn’t the right situation for me to be in, so I had to make a change.”
That change for the Downingtown, Pa., native was a transfer to Temple. She was able to play in the spring just in time for the 2011 season, but said it wasn’t an entirely comfortable situation at first.
“Coming into it… it’s a whole different thing,” Tabor said. “I got here and everyone already knew each other, so it was a hard transition.”
But three years after her arrival, Tabor said transferring is one of the best decisions she ever made.
“She wanted to come to Temple,” coach Bonnie Rosen said. “I had a long talk with her to make sure it was what she really wanted and from the moment she got here, this is the place she wanted to be.”
Now in her senior year with the Owls, the attacker leads the team in scoring with 25 goals and three assists for 28 points, with five games left in the regular season. She is fifth in the Big East Conference in scoring.
Tabor has come a long way since her early playing days in 2011.
“When I got here I was a little shy,” Tabor said. “It’s just like anything that you go into blind. I didn’t really know how it was going to be, but it turned out to be good. The girls are great and a lot of the seniors took me under their wing because I was new.”
It took some time, but she got fully acclimated about halfway through her freshman season, as she recalls, with her role expanding each year.
“She came in as a pretty quiet person,” Rosen said. “She still keeps to herself a little bit, but she plays with big personality and that, to the day, has just grown.”
In her first season, Tabor put up 15 goals in 14 games. The next season, she scored 21 goals and an assist in 17 games. In 2013, despite missing three games with a concussion, Tabor scored 27 goals and three assists in 13 games.
“I worked really hard each year,” Tabor said. “Coming in, halfway through [my freshman season], I wasn’t expecting much. I fought to earn my spot and that’s how it’s been since I got here.”
Tabor said she is still a little shy, but realizes that she would have to become more of a leader as other upperclassmen graduated.
“When I was a freshman, there were seniors that I looked up to and admired,” Tabor said. “That is what I want to be for the younger kids now.”
She tries to lead by example with her play rather than with words.
“We have this thing where it’s like, ‘Who can change the momentum?’” Tabor said. “I feel like I really embody that, like I can pick people up really well by what I do on the field.”
But scoring goals will do that.
“That too,” Tabor said with a laugh. “That changes momentum.”
Tabor has always felt comfortable being the goal scorer on the attack. She played some midfield in high school, but she said that was only because they needed someone to fill a hole.
However, Rosen said that Tabor would have excelled at that position.
“She is one of the most dynamic offensive players I’ve ever coached,” Rosen said. “Honestly, she probably could be one of the best midfielders in the country, we just focused her as an attacker. She can be a great defender and she causes turnovers, but she’s definitely that player that speaks with her physical play and has learned to have a voice.”
Had Tabor not made the decision to transfer to Temple three years ago, she says she probably wouldn’t be playing lacrosse anymore. Now, the fact that she is in her final season is hard to grasp.
“I can’t believe it,” Tabor said. “[I] can’t believe this is it.”
Nick Tricome can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.